The Issue: Plans are in the works – spearheaded by Barracks Row Main Street – to transform the Eastern Market Metro Plaza into a town square and community park. But what should it look like? Three alternative approaches are under consideration.
“As Is, With Improvements”: The existing configuration would be kept as it is now – with Pennsylvania Avenue bisecting two separate spaces – but landscape improvements would be made in the name of greening up the area.
The “Triptych”: A traffic oval would be constructed in the center of the plaza, effectively splitting the space into three parks – one in the oval’s middle and two on each side of Pennsylvania.
The “Central Park”: Pennsylvania Avenue would be diverted all the way around a rectangular space. Think the Hill’s Lincoln Park.
Resident concerns, raised at a community meeting in July, run the gamut. The Eastern Market Metro Community Association doesn’t want Pennsylvania Avenue diverted, saying it will bring cars and noise closer to residents’ front steps. One commenter fretted the triptych plan would add travel time to emergency vehicles. Another said leaving things alone would be just fine.
Check out the various landscape plans and traffic patterns here.
Next Step: A final report, possibly this month, on the “preferred alternative.” But the project is years away from breaking ground, if it ever does. It needs governmental go-aheads and, more important, funding. “It’s an important long-term project,” says Don Denton, a Capitol Hill Realtor who sits on the plaza redesign task force, “if we can get it done.”